Ex-IPS bus driver accused in battery against 14-year-old student

Attorney: Charlotte McDaniel acted in self-defense

INDIANAPOLIS - A former Indianapolis Public Schools bus driver was accused of battery against a 14-year-old student after the two got into a verbal fight that turned physical.

Charlotte McDaniel, 47, pleaded not guilty Tuesday at her initial court appearance.

Investigators said the incident happened Feb. 24 on a school bus that stopped at 16th and Dequincy streets. According to court documents, the 14-year-old student called McDaniel the "equivalent of a fat female dog." The driver pulled the bus over on the side of the road and tried to push the student down in her seat. The move incensed the student and the teen began punching McDaniel in the head. McDaniel called IPS police for help and eventually grabbed a broom handle to defend herself.

In retaliation, the student posted negative comments about McDaniel on Facebook.

"In ten days, I'm going to f*** that bus driver up again," the post read.

McDaniel was originally suspended from her job, but has since been terminated. Her fellow bus drivers said she did nothing wrong and should be back on the job.

"It could have been any of us. She acted in the only way she could. It was self-defense," fellow bus driver Grigitte Yancey said.

McDaniel's attorney, Jack Crawford, agreed with Yancey.

"This case is so wrong on so many different levels. This lady was attacked driving a school bus.  She did everything she was supposed to do. She called dispatch reporting an encounter with a student.  They said they couldn't get there for one hour. She was defenseless. A student was beating on her. She tried to defend herself the best way she could," Crawford said.

McDaniel has been a bus driver for 20 years and Crawford said she had no history of on-the-job indiscretions.

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